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University  of  California  •  Berkeley 

University  of  California   Bancroft  Library /Berkeley 
Regional  Oral  History  Office 

Earl  S.  Peirce 


Edited  by 
Amelia  R,  Fry 


Produced  under  the  auspices  of 
Resources  for  the  Future 

All  uses  of  this  manuscript  are 
covered  by  an  agreement  between 
the  Regents  of  the  University  of 
California  and  Earl  S.  Peirce, 
dated  October  15,  1967.  The 
manuscript  is  thereby  made  avail 
able  for  research  purposes.  All 
literary  rights  in  the  manuscript, 
including  the  right  to  publish, 
are  reserved  to  the  Bancroft 
Library  of  the  University  of 
California  at  Berkeley.  No  part 
of  the  manuscript  may  be  quoted 
for  publication  without  the  written 
permission  of  the  Director  of 
Bancroft  Library  of  the  University 
of  California  at  Berkeley, 

Earl  S.  Peirce 

September  26.  1886 



July  1.  1910 




From  1933  to  1951 

Prom  1936  to  my 
retirement  in  1951 

Born  at  Frankfort,  Maine 

Attended  Peekskill  Military 
Academy,  Peekskill,  New  York 

Attended  Phillip  Academy, 
Andover,  Massachusetts. 
Graduated  1906 

Yale  University,  New  Haven, 
Connecticut.  Graduated  1909, 
"3.S."  degree 

Attended  Yale  Forest  School, 
New  Haven,  Connecticut 

Entered  U.S.  Forest  Service 
as  Forest  Assistant,  Bighorn 
National  Forest,  Sheridan, 

Forest  Examiner  in  Black  Hills 
National  Forest,  Deadwood, 
South  Dakota 

Forest  Supervisor,  Medicine 
Bow  National  Forest,  Laramie, 

Director  of  Extension,  New 
York  State  College  of  Forestry, 
Syracuse,  New  York 

Held  various  positions  with 
U.S.  Forest  Service  at  Regional 
Office  at  Milwaukee,  Wisconsin, 
and  at  head  office  in  Washington, 

Was  Chief  of  the  Division  of 
Co-operative  Forest  Protection, 
having  to  do  mainly  with  co 
operation  with  state  forestry 
departments  and  private  timber 
land  owners  in  protecting  forests 
from  fire  damage. 

Was  assigned  to  the  timber 
salvage  project  in  New  England 
(administered  by  the  U.S.  Forest 
Service)  following  the  hurricane 
of  1938. 


This  interview  was  made  possible  by  a  grant  from  Resources 
for  the  Future,  Inc.,  under  which  the  Regional  Oral  History 
Office  of  the  Bancroft  Library  at  the  University  of  California  at 
Berkeley  embarked  on  a  series  of  interviews  to  trace  the  history 
of  policy  in  the  U.  S.  Forest  Service.   Dr.  Henry  Vaux,  Professor 
of  Forestry,  University  of  California,  Berkeley,  is  the  Principal 
Investigator  of  this  project.   Copies  of  the  manuscripts  are  on 
deposit  in  the  Bancroft  Library  of  the  University  of  California  at 
Berkeley;  also  in  the  Department  of  Special  Collections,  UCLA 
Library;  in  the  Forest  History  Society,  Yale  University;  and  in 
the  library  of  Resources  for  the  Future,  Washington,  D.  C. 

The  Regional  Oral  History  Office  was  established  to  tape 
record  autobiographical  interviews  with  persons  prominent  in  the 
recent  history  of  the  West.   The  Office  is  under  the  administrative 
supervision  of  the  Director  of  the  Bancroft  Library. 

Willa  Klug  Baum,  Head 
Regional  Oral  History  Office 

Regional  Oral  History  Office 
Room  486  The  Bancroft  Library 
University  of  California 
Berkeley,  California 



tape  recorded  interviews  on 

1.  Clepper,  Henry,  Executive  Secretary,  Society  of  American 


2.  Dana,  Samuel  T. ,  Dean,  School  of  Natural  Resources,  University 

of  Michigan 

3.  Gill,  Tom,  Forester,  author,  head  of  Pack  foundation. 

4.  Granger,  Christopher,  Assistant  Chief  of  the  Forest  Service, 

national  forest  administration. 

5.  Hall,  R.  Clifford,  Director,  Forest  Taxation  Inquiry. 

6.  Hartzog,  George  B. ,  Director,  National  Park  Service. 

7.  Hornaday,  Fred,  Executive  Secretary  of  American  Forestry 

Association;  and  Pomeroy,  Kenneth,  Editor  for  A.  F.  A. 

8.  Kotok,  I.  E.,  Assistant  Chief  of  the  Forest  Service,  state 

and  private  forestry;  research. 

9.  Kniepp,  Leon  F.,  Assistant  Chief  of  the  Forest  Service,  land 

and  acquisition. 

10.  Marsh,  Raymond,  Assistant  Chief  of  the  U.  S.  Forest  Service 

under  Earle  Clapp. 

11.  Peirce,  Earl,  Chief,  Division  of  State  Cooperation,  USFS . 

12.  Ring land ,  Arthur,  Regional  Forester,  Region  3;  Executive 

Secretary  of  National  Conference  on  Outdoor 

13.  Roberts,  Paul,  Director,  Prairie  States  Forestry  Projects; 

14.  Shepard ,  Harold  B.,  in  charge  of  Insurance  Study,  conducted 

by  the  Northeastern  Experiment  Station  with  Yale 

15.  Sieker,  John  H. ,  Chief  of  Division  of  Recreation  and  Lands. 

16.  Swift,  Lloyd,  Chief  of  Division  of  Wildlife  Management. 




measure  of  foreJt  fire  hazard,  by  town 

Over  /0,000,0O0  i>d.  ft.  down 
(Extreme  fire  hazard) 

/,000.00O  to  /0,O 0O.OOO  id.  ft 
(Moderate  fire  hazard) 

Xes;  ihan  /.000.000  td.ft 
(Jliyht  fire  hazard) 

— I    //of  affected  or  no  report 






MAINE                  _4  ._40-_  _.  50.000.  _  45,000 

NEW  HAMPSHIRE-       _IO_.  -  259  _  _  1,005,000 620,000 

VERMONT               _I4 248        360,000 190.000 

MASSACHUSETTS-.      __IO_  -  1 50  _.  I,OOO.OOO_.  600.00 

RHODE  ISLAND-          _5__  39  _.  85,000 60,000 

CONNECTICUT-          _  8_.  168-  1 50.000 ...  85.000 

TOTAL  NEW  ENGLAND  _  _5I_  904_   2.650,000 1,600,000 



This  historical  report  was  prepared  in  March, 
1965,—  twenty-seven  years  after  the  big  hurricane 
in  1938.  It  is  based  in  part  on  memory,  but  mostly 
on  reports  and  records  made  during  or  soon  after  the 
completion  of  the  program. 

The  Federal  activities  in  New  England  following 
the  hurricane  were  undertaken  in  response  to  urgent 
requests  from  responsible  individuals,  groups,  and 
high  officials  of  all  the  states  involved.  The  dou 
ble  barrelled  program,  (1)  reducing  the  forest  fire 
hazard  and  (2)  salvaging  the  damaged  timber,  was  made 
possible  through  the  cooperation  of  at  least  six 
separate  Government  agencies.  The  work  involved  was 
most  closely  related  to  the  Department  of  Agriculture, 
so  the  responsibility  for  participation  by  the  govern 
ment  was  assumed  by  the  Secretary  of  Agriculture.  It 
was  delegated  by  him  to  the  Chief  of  the  United  States 
Forest  Service,  and  within  the  latter  organization 
the  overall  directing  job  was  centered  in  the  "Division 
of  State  Cooperation".  The  writer  at  the  time  was 
in  charge  of  that  division. 


While  the  hazard  reduction-fire  protection  pro 
gram  had  ample  precedent  in  the  annals  of  Forest  Ser 
vice  history,  it  did  provide  a  test  of  Forest  Service 
leadership  and  ability  to  carry  on  a  big  job,  demanding 
a  high  degree  of  cooperation  with  many  local,  state 
and  Federal  agencies.  On  the  other  hand,  the  timber 
salvage  program  was  something  entirely  new  to  the 
Forest  Service,  a  project  without  a  modern  prototype, 
one  so  large  and  hazardous  that  no  individual,  corpor 
ation,  or  state  could  undertake  it,  and  one  that  de 
manded  the  stabilizing  influence  of  a  competent  and 
experienced  Federal  agency.  The  Forest  Service  ad 
mit*  some  mistakes  but  offers  no  apologies  for  the 
conduct  of  the  program.  Most  of  the  policies  which 
guided  the  various  activities  were  fundamentally 
sound  and  in  the  best  public  interest.  Purposely 
no  names  have  been  mentioned.  To  do  so  would  make 
it  difficult  to  know  where  to  stop.  Many  persons, 
mostly  regular  Forest  Service  officials,  played 
important  roles  in  the  program  at  one  time  or  another 
and  in  various  capacities.  However,  the  Project 
Director  located  at  Boston  had  by  far  the  most  diffi 
cult  task.  It  required  supervisory  ability,  sound 

judgement  and  sincere  will  to  cooperate.  The 
success  of  the  entire  program  was  in  the  hands 
of  the  Project  Director.  Two  men  shared  that 
responsibility  -  Leslie  S.  Bean  during  the  initial 
fifteen  months,  and  John  F.  Campbell  from  there 
to  the  close  of  the  Boston  office  on  January  30, 


The  hurricane  caused  a  great  loss  of  human 
lives  and  tremendous  damage  to  properties  of  all 
kinds  but  the  dark  clouds  had  a  tinge  of  silver 
lining.  It  provided  a  huge  volume  of  lumber  and 
other  wood  products  when  and  where  it  was  urgently 
needed  in  the  war  effort.  In  that  respect,  it 
added  some  counterweight  to  the  old  English  proverb, 
"It's  an  ill  wind  that  blows  nobody  good." 

Earl  S.  Peirce 

March  29,  1965   - 
Washington,  D.  C. 



It  was  retired  Assistant  Chief  of  the  U.S.  Forest 
Service  Ed  I.  Kotok  who  in  1963  first  mentioned  to  me 
that  the  federal  emergency  salvage  of  the  New  England 
hurricane  of  1938  was  a  milestone  in  federal  forestry 
in  the  enormity  of  the  effort  and  in  the  complex  co 
operation  between  federal,  state,  county,  and  private 
timberland  representatives. 

Sometime  later,  during  an  exchange  of  letters 
with  another  retired  assistant  chief,  Chris  Granger, 
the  subject  of  the  1938  blow-down  was  again  approached, 
this  time  as  a  suggested  topic  to  include  in  a  memoir 
that  he  was  planning  for  the  Resources  for  the  Future 
series  on  the  history  of  policy  in  the  U.S.  Forest 
Service.   Granger  suggested  that  Earl  Peirce  was  the 
man  to  write  about  the  colossal  cleanup  job,  since  at 
the  time  of  the  hurricane  Granger  had  been  in  charge  of 
timber  management  of  the  national  forests  and  Earl 
Peirce  was  heading  Co-operative  Forest  Protection,  a 
Division  that  dealt  with  state  and  private  timber 
owners.  It  was  he,  then,  who  had  been  assigned  to 
direct  and  co-ordinate  the  emergency  protection  and 


salvage  operations. 

Mr.  Peirce  readily  agreed  to  write  his  account 
for  the  Regional  Oral  History  Office  at  Berkeley, 
using  his  records  and  those  available  in  the  U.S. 
Forest  Service  office.  He  received  no  outlines  from 
me,  as  such;  only  suggestions  that  he  try  to  supple 
ment  the  information  available  in  the  records  and 
emphasize  the  why  and  the  how  of  the  operation." 
Edee  Mezirow,  Regional  Oral  History  Office  repre 
sentative  in  Washington,  D.C.,  where  Mr.  Peirce  lives, 
was  alerted  to  help  him  if  he  needed  assistance  in 
checking  records  and  digging  out  documents.  Prom  the 
Forest  Service  files  and  elsewhere,  Peirce  also 
collected  several  photographs  and  a  map  of  the  hurricane 
area  for  inclusion  in  his  manuscript. 

Working  without  a  typewriter  "or  the  ability  to 
operate  one,"  he  wrote  out  what,  in  his  opinion,  were 
the  major  activities  of  the  entire  fire  protection  and 
salvaging  effort.  Some  of  "the  facets  and  ramifications," 
he  says,  have  not  been  touched,  but,  fearing  that  too 
much  detail  would  make  for  deadly  reading,  he  avoided 

Letter  in  appendix,  Fry  to  Peirce,  January  27,  1965  • 


anything  that  might  seem  trivial  and  stuck  to  the 
"broad  outlines.   "Even  so,  it  is  difficult  to  tell 


the  story  without  considerable  detail,"  he  writes. 

The  manuscript  was  returned  to  the  Regional  Oral 
History  Office  in  Berkeley  for  typing,  inserting  the 
necessary  pictures,  indexing,  and  binding.  No  editing 
was  done  other  than  checking  for  errors  in  spelling 
and  typing. 

Amelia  R.  Pry 
Project  Director 

"see  Appendix,  March  29,  1965,  letter  from  Peirce  to  Fry. 





The  Storm  and  Its  Aftermath  1 


Organization  8 

Accomplishments  14 

Benefits  15 


Policy  Development  Within  the  Program  21 

Operations  26 

purchasing  logs  27 

sawing  the  logs  into  lumber  34 

selling  the  lumber  37 






One  of  the  moat  destructive  hurricanes  of  all 
times  swept  through  the  New  England  States  on  Septem 
ber  21,  1938.  It  left  in  its  wake  tremendous  damage 
in  loss  of  human  lives  and  property  values.  It  cov 
ered  an  area  of  160,000  square  miles,  causing  varying 
damage  in  all  six  New  England  states  and  small  por 
tions  of  Long  Island.  The  hardest  hit  areas  centered 
along  the  north  shore  of  Long  Island  Sound  and  ex 
tensive  interior  portions  of  New  Hampshire  and  Massa 

Other  great  storms  had  killed  more  persons,  but 
in  terms  of  property  losses  this  one  topped  them  all. 
A  few  statistics  will  give  an  idea  of  the  severity  of 
the  storm  and  its  destruction:  682  persons  lost  their 
lives  and  an  additional  1754  were  more  or  less  injured, 
Destroyed  were  8924  dwellings,  three-quarters  of  them 
summer  homes,  9807  other  buildings,  and  2605  boats. 
Public  utilities  were  severely  damaged  with  20,000 
miles  of  electric  power  and  telephone  lines  put 
out  of  service  and  order.  The  Bell  System  then 

reported  600,000  telephones  out  of  commission 
and  estimated  its  damages  at  ten  million  dollars. 

Loss  of  life  and  damage,  especially  in  the 
coastal  areas,  would  have  been  far  greater  had  it 
not  been  for  advance  warnings  by  the  U.S.  Weather 
Bureau  and  the  U.S.  Coast  Guard,  which  enabled 
some  emergency  preparations  to  meet  the  shock. 

An  unusual  feature  of  this  hurricane  was  its 
great  damage  to  shade  trees  and  forests.  Literally 
millions  of  large  trees  were  toppled  over  like  ten 
pins.  The  capricious  storm,  contacting  the  earth 
lightly  in  some  places,  viciously  in  others,  left 
a  tangled  mass  of  debris  over  extensive  areas.  Con 
tributing  to  the  heavy  tree  damage  was  an  abnormally 
high  rainfall  during  the  preceding  week  which  softened 
the  ground  and  made  the  trees  vulnerable  to  wind throw. 
This  applied  especially  to  the  relatively  shallow 
rooted  white  pines,  which  comprised  the  major  tree 

Throughout  the  hurricane  area  there  was  great 
damage  to  valuable  shade  trees  -  in  city  or  town  parks, 
bordering  streets  or  surrounding  homes  and  residences. 
Mostly,  they  were  large  and  beautiful  trees,  highly 
valued  by  their  owners  and  local  residents. 

Timber  Management,  Injured  Trees,  New  Hampshire 
No.  3  of  a  series  of  panorama  photos  showing  the 
storm  damage  at  Wheelock  Park  at  Keene,  New 
Hampshire.   This  damage  was  caused  by  the  hurricane 
of  September  21. 
Taken  by  B.  W.  Muir--0ctober  1938 

they  could  not  be  replaced  within  50  years  or  more, 
their  loss  was  deeply  felt. 

Damage  to  forests  involved  both  extensive  tracts 
of  timber  and  many  small  woodlots  over  some  15  million 
acres  or  about  one  third  of  the  total  land  area  in 
New  England.  The  area  of  almost  complete  damage  was 
about  a  thousand  square  miles  -  more  than  fifteen 
times  the  size  of  the  District  of  Columbia  -  centered 
largely  in  central  Massachusetts  and  Southern  New 
Hampshire.  As  the  accompanying  map  shows  it  involved 
904  townships  in  51  counties  and  comprised  30,000 
separate  landowners* 

The  appalling  damage  over  such  a  large  area  naturally 
caused  widespread  concern  which  was  not  limited  only 
to  the  landowners*  It  posed  two  urgent  problems:  the 
threatening  potential  fire  hazard,  and  the  immense 
task  of  salvaging  the  merchantable  portions  of  the 
damaged  trees. 

How  to  quickly  reduce  the  fire  danger  was  para 
mount,  for  it  was  generally  recognized  that,  until 
the  damaged  fire  protection  facilities  were  restored 
and  the  highly  inflammable  debris  was  removed,  dis 
astrous  forest  fires  would  surely  follow.  Local 
residents  felt  they  were  sitting  on  a  powder  keg 

likely  to  explode  any  minute.  Concern  was  under 
standable  and  fully  justified  by  the  actual  facts, 
but  to  make  matters  worse  some  unduly  alarming  items 
appeared  in  the  press  and  over  the  radio.  For  example, 
one  widely  circulated  magazine  predicted  that  a  forest 
fire  could  spread  over  the  entire  area  in  less  time 
than  it  tppk  the  hurricane  -  a  matter  of  some  five 
hours.  Incidentally,  this  demonstrated  the  need  in 
similiar  catastrophes  for  some  central  news  control, 
which  in  this  case  was  undertaken  and  proved  helpful 
later  as  an  organized  hazard  reduction  program  became 

The  public  utility  companies  began  immediately 
to  restore  their  facilities  and  the  highway  depart 
ments  to  clear  up  the  highways  and  primary  roads. 
Also  many  landowners,  both  individually  and  corporate, 
commenced  clean-up  on  their  lands,  but  in  general  the 
job  was  too  much  for  them  to  handle.  Most  of  them 
lacked  the  needed  labor,  equipment,  or  ability  to  cope 
with  the  situation.  In  New  England,  with  its  long 
tradition  of  local  government  by  town  meeting,  most 
of  the  heavily  hit  towns  created  special  "emergency 

committees11  to  coordinate  immediate  relief  measures. 
Fortunately  there  existed  in  all  the  states  in 
volved  State  Forestry  Departments,  whose  primary  re  - 

sponsibility  was  to  protect  forest  lands  against  fire. 
Also,  as  a  part  of  the  overall  state  protection  system, 
many  of  the  towns  had  local  agencies  for  controlling 
nearby  woods  fires.  All  these  state  and  local  protection 
agencies  went  to  work  immediately  to  clean  out  woods 
roads  and  trails,  repair  telephone  lines  and  other 
protective  facilities.  A  small  portion  of  the  heavily 
damaged  areas  were  located  on  national  or  state  forests 
and  here  the  responsibility  was  taken  by  the  respective 
agencies  who  began  to  clear  up  the  debris.  Most  of 
the  damage,  however,  was  on  private  land  belonging 
to  a  large  number  of  owners,  most  of  whom  were  unable 
to  handle  a  prompt  and  adequate  clean-up  job  on  their 
lands.  To  effectively  reduce  the  overall  fire  danger 
the  debris  had  to  be  cleaned  up  in  whole  or  partially 
on  all  ownerships.  How  this  could  be  accomplished, 
before  the  inflammable  material  became  tinder  dry  and 
thus  a  serious  fire  menace,  was  the  big  problem.  And 
closely  related  was  how  the  merchantable  portions  of 
the  damaged  trees  could  be  salvaged  before  rot  or 
insects  wiped  out  all  their  redeemable  value.  This 
phase  of  the  operations  will  be  discussed  later  under 
the  "Timber  Salvage  Program".  Time  was  of  the  essence 


in  both  activities  and  both  problems  had  to  be  con 
sidered  in  any  practical  solution. 

Immediately  following  the  hurricane  numerous 
local  meetings  of  interested  individuals  and  groups 
were  held  to  ascertain  the  damages  and  discuss  plans 
for  meeting  the  emergency.  The  concensus  was  that, 
due  to  the  urgency  of  the  needs  and  the  interstate 
scope  of  the  problem,  Federal  aid  was  needed  to  co 
ordinate  and  take  overall  direction  of  the  whole  job. 
The  first  urgent  request  for  government  help  came  with 
in  a  few  days  after  the  hurricane,  directly  to  the 
Chief  of  the  U.S.  Forest  Service  from  the  Director 
of  the  Harvard  Forest  at  Petersham,  Massachusetts 
which  property  had  been  severly  damaged.  A  barrage 
of  other  requests  soon  followed;  some  came  through 
New  England  representatives  in  Congress  and  others 

directly  to  the  U.S.  Forest  Service;  the  Secretary 

of  Agriculture  received  some  and  at  least  two  went 


directly  to  the  President.  One  each  came  from  the 
Governors  of  New  Hampshire  and  Massachusetts. 

It  was  quite  natural  that  the  U.S.  Forest  Service 
would  be  singled  out  as  the  logical  federal  agency 
to  head  up  a  government  aid  forestry  program.  For 
many  years  it  had  been  cooperating  closely  with  the 

-*Henry  A.  Wallace 
•:K:-?ranklin  D.  Roosevelt 

State  Forestry  Departments  in  forest  fire  control 
and  other  forestry  work  under  the  Clarke  -  McUary 
Act  of  June  7,  1924  (  43  Stat.  653). 

Even  before  formal  requests  for  aid  reached 
Washington  the  Chief  Forester  held  several  conferences 
to  discuss  and  determine  how  the  Forest  Service  could 
be  most  helpful.  On  September  29  a  delegation  from 
Massachusetts  called  on  Chief  Forester  F.A.  Wilcox, 
and  with  him  met  with  Secretary  of  Agriculture  Henry 
A.  Wallace o  On  the  following  day  the  Secretary  re 
quested  the  Chief  Forester  to  coordinate  the  job 
for  the  Department  and  to  assist  the  States  to  the 
fullest  extent  possible  with  existing  funds  and 

Special  funds  were  not  then  available  for  an 
emergency  program,  and  Congress  was  not  in  session 
to  appropriate  any. 

Steps  were  taken  promptly  to  cooperate  with 
State  and  local  agencies  primarily  responsible  for 
forest  fire  protection  in  the  area.  On  October  3 
the  Regional  Forester,  in  charge  of  Federal  forestry 
activities  in  the  hurricane  area,  met  with  the  New 
England  State  Foresters  and  other  interested  parties 
in  Boston  to  discuss  and  formulate  plans.  The  first 


job  was  to  survey  the  extent  of  the  damages  and  this 
task  was  undertaken  in  large  by  the  respective  State 
Forestry  personnel. 

Following  several  days  of  discussion  and  con 
ferences  in  Washington  to  determine  how  the  Depart 
ment  of  Agriculture  could  be  most  helpful,  a  small 
group  of  Federal  foresters  proceeded  to  Boston  on 
October  7  to  set  up  a  Project  Director's  office 
and  to  launch  an  action  program. 

On  the  following  day  the  President,  partly  in 
response  to  a  telegram  from  the  Governor  of  New  Hamp 
shire,  directed  the  administrators  of  the  Civilian 
Conservation  Corps  (CCC)  and  the  Works  Progress  Ad 
ministration  (WPA)  to  cooperate  with  the  Forest  Ser 
vice  in  fireproof ing  activities.  This  made  available 
a  very  substantial  and  much  needed  source  of  labor, 
in  large  part  well  organized  and  equipped,  for  woods 

^n  the  fall  of  1938  the  country  had  not  recovered 
fully  from  the  great  1929  depression  and  fortunately 
there  were  still  in  operation  50  CCC  Camps  and  some 
15,000  WPA  workers  in  the  hurricane  area.  Activities 
of  these  agencies  were  immediately  concentrated  on 

clean-up  work  and  remained  so  until  the  hazard  re 
duction  program  was  completed  in  the  fall  of  1940. 
The  CCC  camps  had  experienced  personnel  to  super 
vise  hazard  reduction  work,  but  this  was  not  the  case 
with  1PA.  They  had  the  laborers  but  lacked  the  super 
vision  required  of  them  by  the  Forest  Service.  During 
the  early  part  of  the  program  the  Forest  Service 
was  handicapped  by  insufficient  funds  and  personnel 
to  adequately  administer  the  WPA  work.  To  correct 
this  situation  WPA  employed  foresters  and  other 
qualified  technidais  to  assist  in  directing  the  work. 
They  were  under  complete  jurisdiction  of  the  Forest 
Service.  Many  of  these  technicians  proved  to  be  of 
high  calibre  and  contributed  a  great  deal  toward  the 
success  of  the  program.  Although  the  Forest  Service 
had  overall  direction  of  WPA  activities  on  this  job, 
close  cooperation  existed  between  the  two  Federal 
agencies.  The  WPA  crews  were  trained  in  fire  fighting 
techniques  but  except  in  emergencies  were  not  con 
sidered  as  a  fire  suppression  force. 

Actually,  WPA  and  CCC  workers  formed  the  back 
bone  of  the  labor  force  used  on  this  phase  of  the 
Government  emergency  operations.   There  were,  how 
ever,  heavily  damaged  areas  too  remote  to  be  reached 


by  existing  camps  of  the  CCC  or  by  HifPA  commuting 
crews,  so  other  means  were  needed  to  cover  such 

When  Congress  reconvened  in  March,  1939, 
various  bills  were  introduced  to  authorize  additional 
Federal  aid.  These  were  provided  on  March  15  by  a 
$5,000,000  appropriation  for  work  on  non-Federal 
lands  and  an  additional  $500,000  for  National  Forests 
in  New  Hampshire  and  Maine.  By  amendment  on  May  2, 
1939  $60,000  of  the  original  appropriation  was  to 
be  used  on  damaged  properties  on  Long  Island.  Subse 
quently  an  additional  $300,000  was  made  available  for 
the  fiscal  year  1940/1941. 

Unlike  the  customary  Clarke-McNary  Law  procedure 
(whereby  Federal  funds  were  allotted  to  cooperating 
states  for  expenditure  by  the  states)  these  Federal 
emergency  funds  were  for  use  by  the  responsible  govern- 
ment  agency.  However,  they  were  to  be  on  a  matching 
basis  -  in  other  words,  the  Federal  expenditures  in 
any  state  could  not  exceed  the  state,  local  and  pri 
vate  expenditures  for  similiar  work  in  that  state. 

'^he  operations  stemming  from  these  Federal  funds 
were  known  as  the  "NEFE"  (  New  England  Federal  Emer 
gency)  program.  Up  to  this  time,  the  small  super- 


visory  force  needed  for  the  federal  hurricane 
emergency  activities  were  on  loan  from  the  U.S. 
Forest  Service.  They  had  functioned  primarily 
in  coordinating  the  work  carried  on  by  the  various 
interested  agencies,  including  the  state  forestry 
departments,  local  groups,  private  landowners, 
other  Federal  agencies  and  the  CCC  and  WPA.  This 
initial  group  of  Federal  Foresters  formed  the 
nucleus  for  the  NEFE  and  additional  experienced 
personnel  was  recruited,  largely  from  the  Forest 
Service,  as  needed  to  carry  out  the  expanded  respon 

Two  plans  were  adopted  for  working  areas  which 
could  not  be  reached  by  existing  CCC  or  WPA  workers. 
First,  as  far  as  possible,  local  crews,  generally 
20  men  each,  were  hired  on  a  hourly  basis,  in  most 
cases  504,  to  cover  areas  within  commuting  distance 
from  their  homes.  Each  crew  was  supervised  by  a 
capable  foreman.  Four  or  more  such  crews  were  under 
the  supervision  of  an  experienced  District  Supervisor. 

Laborers  were  obtained  largely  through  cooperation 
of  the  U.S.  Employment  Service.  Local  men  were  chosen, 
insofar  as  possible,  for  work  within  easy  commuting 
distance  of  their  homes.  They  furnished  their  own 


transportation  and  subsistence.  Many  of  these  crews 
were  organized  and  operating  "by  late  April.  They  were 
given  thorough  training  in  the  use  of  hand  tools,  both 
as  applied  to  their  hazard  reduction  job  and  for  fire 
control  purposes.  High  standards  of  efficiency  were 
required  of  the  men,  and  if  they  failed  to  respond 
to  repeated  attempts  at  training  they  were  dismissed. 

Secondly,  to  cover  areas  where  local  commuting 
crews  were  not  possible  or  practicable,  it  was  neces 
sary  to  construct  camps  to  house  from  50  to  100  work 
ers.  19  of  these  so  called  "DA"  (Department  of  Agri 
culture)  camps  were  established  at  an  average  cost 
of  $7500  for  a  50-man  camp  and  $9500  for  a  100-man 
camp.  Except  for  laborers  and  cooks  all  other  employ 
ees  were  taken  from  Civil  Service  registers.  A  large 
number  of  the  laborers  were  young  men  who  had  served 
their  two  years  in  the  CCC.  Also  many  were  University 
forestry  students.  The  camp  superintendent  was  respon 
sible  for  organizing,  planning  and  accomplishing  the 
work,  but  to  a  large  degree  the  practice  of  self  govern- 
ment  prevailed  and  proved  effective.  Although  the 
primary  objectives  differed,  these  camps  were  quite 
similar  to  the  Job  Corps  camps  of  today.  Most  WDA" 
camps  operated  until  the  end  of  1940,  when  the  last 
one  was  closed* 

A  WPA  clean  up  crew  reducing  the  fire  hazard  at  Lady  Wheelock  and  Lady  Parks 
at  Keene,  New  Hampshire,  caused  by  the  storm  of  September  21,  1938. 
Taken  by  B.W.  Mulr,  U.S.  Forest  Service,  October,  1938 


It  was  necessary,  of  course,  to  obtain  written 
permission  from  the  landowners  before  performing  any 
work  on  private  lands.  This  proved  to  be  no  small 
task  due  to  the  large  number  of  cases,  and  it  was 
complicated  further  by  absentee  owners,  many  of  whom 
were  difficult  to  reach.  The  responsibility  for  con 
tacting  owners  was  assumed  by  interested  local  citi 
zens  and  groups.  In  this  endeavor  the  1PA  workers 
were  helpful  since  they  were  local  citizens,  more  or 
less  familiar  with  landowners  in  their  areas.  Prac 
tically  all  owners  were  naturally  glad  to  sign  agree 
ments  for  cleaning  up  their  lands  at  no  expense  to 
them.  Strangely  enough,  there  were  several  cases 
where  permission  was  refused  on  the  grounds,  in  their 
words,  that  they  had  "no  use  for  the  President". 

As  the  program  developed,  the  Project  Director's 
office  was  staffed  as  needed  to  do  the  overall  super 
visory  job,  and  State  Directors  were  appointed  in 
each  of  the  six  New  England  states.  In  the  heavily 
damaged  areas  of  the  states  they  were  divided  into 
districts  with  District  Supervisors  made  directly 
responsible  for  all  project  activities  within  their 
areas.  This  general  supervisory  type  organization 
was  followed  throughout  most  of  the  program,  but 


revisions  were  made  as  needed  to  meet  changing  needs, 
as  major  objectives  shifted  from  "hazard  reduction" 

to  "timber  salvage." 


The  combined  accomplishment  on  fire  control 
activities  of  the  three  Federal  work  agencies,  WPA, 
CCC,  and  NEFE,  was  10,121  miles  of  roads  and  trails 
cleared  and  214,902  acres  of  debris  disposed  of  on 
roadside  strips,  near  villages  and  homes,  and  on 
"breaker  strips"  for  controlling  fires  in  large 
"blow  down"  areas.  In  addition  substantial  assist 
ance  was  given  state  and  local  fire  protection  agen 
cies  in  restoring  damaged  fire  control  facilities 
(such  as  15  toppled-down  lookout  towers  and  563  miles 
of  telephone  lines)  and  in  locating  and  constructing 
many  water  holes  for  fire  suppression  use.  A  grand 
total  of  4,876,519  man-days  of  labor  were  spent  on 
Federal  fire  proofing  activities. 

The  Agriculture  Adjustment  Administration  (AAA) 
provided  a  $4  per  acre  benefit  payment  to  individual 
landowners  for  cleaning  up  their  lands.  However, 
little  use  was  made  of  this  aid,  since  in  most  cases 
the  cost  of  the  work  required  would  far  exceed  the 


The  Federal  hazard  reduction  project  was  com 
pleted  by  the  fall  of  1940  and  on  November  25  of  that 
year  the  Congress  authorized  the  transfer  of  the 
government  purchased  tools  and  equipment  to  the  New 
England  state  forestry  departments  for  forest  fire 
protection  by  the  states.  Distribution  was  made 
on  the  basis  of  their  respective  needs  as  a  result 
of  the  hurricane.  Under  this  authority  a  substantial 
amount  of  fire  control  equipment  was  given  to  the 
states,  including  25  trucks,  9  station  wagons,  22 
fire  pumps  and  47,120  feet  of  fire  hose. 

The  benefits  resulting  from  the  Federal  assist 
ance  in  the  fire  hazard  reduction  operations  cannot 
be  precisely  evaluated.  The  major  accomplishments 
were  headed  by  the  help  given  in  cleaning  some  600,000 
acres  of  inflammable  debris,  which,  if  left  untouch 
ed  on  the  ground,  would  have  created  a  potential  fire 
hazard  of  catastrophic  proportion.  The  protection 
taken  certainly  was  instrumental  in  preventing  any 
major  fire  losses. 

But  how  can  the  value  of  prevention  be  measured 
against  the  uncertainty  of  what  might  have  occured? 
An  old  proverb  tells  us  that  "an  ounce  of  prevention 


is  worth  a  pound  of  cure11.  Disastrous  forest  fires 
following  in  the  wake  of  this  hurricane  would  have 
raised  this  ratio  many  fold.  Undoubtedly,  the  in 
tangible  but  nonetheless  greatest  benefit  was  psycho 
logical  -  the  lessening  of  local  apprehension  over 
threatening  or  possible  danger  in  the  knowledge  that 
substantial  protective  measures  were  being  taken. 

Another  immeasurable  benefit  was  the  widespread 
public  appreciation,  stemming  from  the  hurricane,  of 
the  urgent  need  for  proceedings  against  forest  fires. 
A  benefit  which  could  pay  good  future  dividends  to  both 
was  the  training  and  experience  in  fire  control  tech 
niques  acquired  by  the  many  hundreds  of  young  men  who 
participated  in  the  program. 

A  more  measurable  yardstick  is  the  financial  bene 
fit  to  many  thousands  of  landowners  whose  properties 
were  cleaned  up,  most  of  whom  were  unable  to  perform 
or  finance  the  work  themselves.  This  benefit  could 
be  conservatively  assessed  at  the  actual  cost  of  the 
Federal  contribution,  roughly  estimated  at  25  million 

Another  measurable  benefit  for  future  forest  fire 
protection  was  the  substantial  amount  of  tools  and 
equipment  turned  over  to  the  states,  at  the  completion 


of  the  federal  program. 

Still  another  immeasurable  but  possible  benefit 
is  the  experience  acquired  in  this  program  in  the 
event  of  similar  catastrophes  which  might  occur  with 
in  the  not  too  distant  future. 

Prom  a  conservation  standpoint  the  removal  or 
reduction  of  vast  amounts  of  dead  or  rotting  trees 
was  beneficial,  for  such  material  left  on  the  ground 
would  have  provided  breeding  places  for  destructive 
insects  and  disease.  Also  large  accumulations  of 
debris,  if  left  on  the  ground,  would  retard  natural 
tree  regeneration  to  a  greater  or  less  extent. 

Possibly  one  of  the  greatest  public  benefits 
resulting  from  the  hazard  reducing  program  was  its 
vitalizing  influence  on  forest  fire  control  thinking 
and  planning  in  New  England.  It  provided  the  basis 
for  a  unity  of  effort  along  these  lines  never  before 
experienced  in  the  Northeast,  and  its  effects  will 
become  more  and  more  apparent  as  time  goes  on.  The 
value  of  these  effects  became  manifest  early  in  the 
program  through  needed  forestry  legislation  and  in  the 
development  of  improved  fire  control  practices. 

The  Forest  Service,  in  carrying  out  its  coordinating 
responsibilities,  acknowledged  and  appreciated  the  valuable 
assistance  and  cooperation  of  the  many  interested  agencies, 
local,  state  and  federal.  Splendid  cooperation  was 

Timber  Management,  Injured  Trees,  New  Hampshire, 

White  Mountain  National  Forest 

W.  P.  A.  workers  piling  brush  tops  and  slash 

cuttings  from  devastated  trees  in  the  Gale  River 

Experimental  Forest  along  the  side  of  the  Gale 

River  State  Road. 

Taken  by  B.  W.  Muir--0ctober  15,  1938 


obtained  from  those  most  interested  -  COG,  WPA,  and  the 
various  State  Foresters  and  their  organizations,  as 
well  as  town  committees  and  the  lumbermen  of  the  Northeast, 

It  was  estimated  that  the  trees  which  were  uprooted 
or  otherwise  damaged  contained  about  two  and  one-half 
billion  board  feet  of  merchantable  lumber  or  other 
usable  forest  products.  Further,  that  nearly  70#  of  it, 
or  1,600,000  board  feet  (enough  to  build  half  a  million 
dwellings)  could  be  salvaged  -  provided  it  could  be 
processed  before  the  values  were  wiped  out  by  decay 
or  insects.  Unless  the  logs  could  be  put  in  water 
storage  this  might  be  only  a  matter  of  a  few  months,  so 
as  in  reducing  the  fire  danger,  time  was  the  important 
factor.  A  major  portion  of  the  trees  were  eastern  white 
pine,  a  species  valuable  for  lumber  and  box  boards.  By 
many  owners  they  were  considered  their  major  asset. 

The  problem  was,  first  how  the  salvaging  could  be 
accomplished,  and  secondly,  what  organization  could  best 
handle  the  job.  Both  problems  were  widely  discussed 
at  numerous  meetings  of  interested  persons  and  groups, 
both  locally  and  in  Washington. 

To  initiate  an  adequate  salvage  project  was  more 
complicated  than  was  the  case  in  reducing  the  fire  damage. 


There  were  a  number  of  important  reasons,  among  them: 

(a)-  There  was  no  existing  organization  equipped 
to  handle  a  job  of  this  magnitude, 

(b)-  There  was  no  ready  local  market  for  such  a 
large  amount  of  forest  products. 

(c)-  There  were  not  sufficient  experienced  labor 
or  suitable  equipment  in  most  areas. 

Again,  and  largely  for  the  reasons  mentioned  pre 
viously  the  local  concensus  pointed  toward  the  Federal 
Government  and  pinpointed  the  Forest  Service  as  the  most 
logical  agency  to  coordinate,  direct  and  handle  the 
project.  Numerous  requests  were  received  from  the  New 
England  states  for  Federal  action. 

Unfortunately,  there  were  no  Federal  funds  currently 
available  and  the  Congress  was  not  in  session  to  provide 
the  needed  legislative  authorization  and  financing. 
Neither  the  Secretary  of  Agriculture  nor  the  Forest 
Service  had  authority  to  borrow  funds.  However,  the 
Surplus  Commodities  Corporation,  a  corporate  agency  in 
the  Department  of  Agriculture  did  have  such  authoriza 
tion.  Consequently,  the  SCO  created  a  special  sub 
division  NETSA  (Northeastern  Timber  Salvage  Administra 
tion)  for  the  sole  purpose  of  meeting  the  emergency  and 
conferred  upon  it  all  necessary  authority  to  do  the 
job.  An  initial  loan  was  obtained  from  the  Disaster 
Loan  Corporation  -  a  division  of  the  Reconstruction 


Finance  Corporation  (RFC)  -  to  launch  the  project* 
The  procedure  was  to  be  a  business  transaction  and 
in  no  way  a  "grant-in-aid . "  The  logs  to  be  pur 
chased  and  the  material  to  be  processed  were  to  com 
prise  collateral.  Both  principal  and  3$  interest  were 
to  be  repaid  from  the  proceedes  from  sales,  to  the  full 
est  extent  possible. 

The  Chief  Forester  was  appointed  a  vice-president 
of  the  SCC  and  made  administrator  of  NETSA,  with  full 
responsibility  for  all  Federal  operations.  The  formal 
authorization  of  November  14,  1938,  gave  him  "authority 
to  use  all  facilities  and  personnel  of  the  U.S.  Forest 
Service  and  of  such  Federal,  state,  local  and  private 
agencies  as  may  be  willing  to  cooperate,  and  to  employ 
such  additional  personnel  as  needed  and  to  assume  full 
responsibility  for  the  procuring,  handling,  processing, 
exchanging,  storing,  transporting  and  sale  of  all  in 
ventories  of  the  corporation,  acquired  in  connection 
with  the  timber  salvage  program  and  shall  execute  con 
tracts  in  connection  therewith  and  to  designate  field 
agents  of  the  corporation  to  carry  out  the  last  named 
functions,  pursuant  to  his  direction."  He  was  further 
authorized  "to  establish  state  offices  and  such  administra 
tive  units  and  offices  as  he  may  deem  necessary  to  the 


efficient  effectuation  of  the  salvage  program,  to  ne 
gotiate  with  the  Disaster  Loan  Corporation  and  to  ob 
tain  a  loan  to  be  made  to  the  Federal  Surplus  Commodities 
Corporation  in  an  amount  not  in  excess  of  $15,000,000." 
He  was  Mto  report,  directly  to  the  Secretary  of  Agri 
culture  on  all  matters  arising  in  connection  with  the 
program" . 
Policy  Development  Within  the  Program 

Although  the  authority  granted  the  administrator 
was  broad  and  included  logging  operations  on  lands  of 
cooperating  owners  and  also  the  purchase  of  sawn  lumber, 
the  policy  was  early  adopted  of  not  undertaking  either 
of  these  activities.  The  reasons  were:  (l)  enough  pri 
vate  loggers  were  available  locally  or  could  be  recruited 
from  other  areas  to  perform  logging  work  under  direct 
contract  with  landowners,  (2)  Federal  funds  were  limited 
to  hurricane  damaged  material  and  it  would  be  impossible 
or  difficult  to  determine  the  original  source  of  pur 
chased  sawn  lumber.  As  regards  logging,  considerable 
help  was  given  to  private  land  owners  in  locating  and 
obtaining  loggers  and  also  in  drawing  up  suitable  con 
tracts  and,  wherever  necessary,  in  obtaining  loans  from 
local  banks. 

A  logical  question,  raised  by  persons  unfamiliar 


with  the  situation,  was  Why  was  not  the  government- 
owned  lumber  utilized  by  the  government  itself?  This 
possibility  was  fully  explored  with  the  lumber  experts 
of  the  National  Defense  Advisory  Commission  and  of  the 
War  and  Navy  Departments.  A  number  of  orders  were  re 
ceived  and  filled  for  the  Navy  by  NETSA,  but  in  general 
its  direct  use  by  government  agencies  was  limited.  This 
was  due  to  a  number  of  reasons: 

In  1939  and  1940,  when  most  of  the  logs  were  sawn, 
the  lumber  business  was  in  the  doldrums  and  there 
was  little  demand  for  wood  products  from  any  source. 
This  was  especially  so  for  "rough"  sawn  lumber,  which 
in  general,  required  further  processing  to  make  it  usable. 
Other  government  agencies  were  not  interested  in  "rough" 
lumber  and  NETSA  had  no  remanufacturing  facilities.  The 
original  sawing  was  done  by  many  small  portable  mills, 
which  were  not  equipped  with  planers.  In  fact,  the  under 
lying  action  was  that  NETSA  would  salvage  the  logs  and 
convert  them  into  rough  lumber  for  storing  and  seasoning; 
the  material  would  then  be  available  for  local  wood- 
using  industries,  to  be  reprocessed  to  suit  their  wood 
needs  or  the  requirements  of  the  established  lumber  market. 

Another  factor  was  that  all  NETSA  lumber  was  "random" 
piled  in  hundreds  of  lots  scattered  throughout  New  England 


and  in  nearly  all  cases  would  require  grading  and  sorting 
before  orders  for  specific  items  could  be  filled.  With 
one  War  Department  inquiry  for  camp  construction  material, 
which  required  a  high  degree  of  large  lumber  and  heavy 
timbers,  it  would  have  been  necessary  to  tear  down  piles 
in  32  yards  to  obtain  the  required  stock*  Even  then, 
the  lack  of  "dressing"  facilities  would  have  prevented 
delivery  of  the  lumber  on  time. 

Another  reason  was  that  the  salvaged  material  had 
been  either  sold  and  delivered  or  was  under  contract  a 
year  or  more  before  the  demand  for  wood  for  war  purposes 
began.  Eventually,  however,  almost  all  of  the  hurricane 
lumber  was  used  for  military  needs.  If  the  hurricane 
had  occurred  two  years  later  or  could  subsequent  war 
demands  have  been  foreseen,  the  operations  could  and  would 
have  been  revised  to  meet  military  requirements.  No 
doubt  this  would  have  resulted  in  a  substantial  savings 
to  the  government.  On  the  otherhand,  it  might  have 
been  at  the  expense  of  local  industries  whose  needs  for 
wood  products  to  fill  government  contracts  came  largely 
from  NETSA  lumber. 

The  primary  objectives  in  disposing  of  the  lumber 
and  other  forest  project  products  was,  first,  to  pro 
vide  for  the  needs  of  local  industries  and,  secondly, 


to  sell  the  surplus  in  an  orderly  way  so  as  not 
to  disrupt  local  markets.  In  the  early  meetings 
and  discussions  with  lumber  industry  representa 
tives,  both  national  and  local,  it  was  apparent 
there  was  apprehension.  Many  thought  that  the 
government  might  intrude  unduly  in  the  retail 
lumber  trade.  To  allay  that  concern,  various 
discussions  were  held  with  responsible  and  inter 
ested  local  individuals  and  groups.  On  September 
9,  1939  NETSA  officials  met  with  23  representatives 
of  various  lumber  associations  and  wood-using  in 
dustries  to  discuss  policies  and  procedures*  This 
was  followed  up  on  September  27  by  a  meeting  at 
Winchendon,  Massachusetts  with  a  committee  repre 
senting  ten  of  the  major  lumber  associations.  At 
this  time  the  committee  unanimously  approved  a  sales 
policy,  drafted  by  NETSA,  which  was  believed  to  re 
flect  the  majority  opinion  of  the  industry  and  the 
government.  This  statement  was  released  to  the  press 
on  October  4,  giving  assurance  to  the  interested 
lumber  associations  that  the  government  had  no  in 
tention  of  going  into  the  lumber  business.   In  short 
this  policy  provided: 

(a)-  To  a  maximum  degree,  logs  in  water  storage 


will  be  disposed  of  to  existing  industries  with 
the  view  of  maintaining  stabilized  employment  for 
the  maximum  period. 

(b)-  Lumber  owned  by  NETSA  will  be  sold  in 
foreign  markets  to  the  fullest  degree. 

(c)-  Preference  in  the  sale  of  lumber  to  gov 
ernmental  agencies  will  be  granted  prior  to  sales 
within  the  local  market. 

(d)-  So  far  as  possible,  pine  lumber  disposed 
of  in  the  domestic  market  will  be  distributed  through 
the  regularly  established  New  England  distribution 
channels.  The  governmental  requirement,  that  the 
product  must  be  advertised  before  sale,  will  be 
followed;  but  lumber  will  not  be  disposed  of  in 
small  lots,  the  usual  practice  being  to  require  the 
purchase  of  entire  yards  or  none  at  all. 

This  policy  was  followed  generally  throughout 
the  program  but  changing  conditions  necessitated 
some  revisions,  which  were  made  only  after  dis 
cussion  with  interested  local  groups.  Close  con 
tact  with  interested  groups  was  maintained  through 
out  the  operations,  and  especially  with  the  Secre 
tary  of  the  Northeastern  Lumber  Manufacturers  Associ 
ation,  located  in  Boston. 


In  many  instances,  particularly  in  the  salvage 
operations,  it  was  necessary  to  employ  workers  with 
little  or  no  experience  in  the  kind  of  work  involved 
scaling  and  grading  logs,  grading  lumber,  sawmill 
operations,  fire  prevention  and  suppression  and  the 
like.  Therefore,  extensive  training  courses  were 
needed  and  carried  out.  One  of  the  most  interesting 
was  the  training  of  women  for  sawmill  work.  Male 
workers  became  very  scarce  with  the  increasing 
activity  of  local  wood-using  industries  to  meet 
military  requirements.  Consequently,  it  became 
necessary  to  employ  women  to  help  operate  several 
mills  where  NETSA  had  to  do  the  sawing.  At  one 
site  in  New  Hampshire  nine  women  were  used.  The 
experiment  proved  successful,  for  after  adequate 
training  the  women  did  a  good  job  and  proved  very 
useful  at  a  time  when  help  was  urgently  needed  and 
hard  to  find. 

The  salvage  program  embraced  three  main  activi 
ties:   (1)  purchasing  the  logs;  (2)  sawing  the  logs 
into  lumber;  and  (3)  selling  the  lumber.  These 
operations  will  be  briefly  discussed  in  their  chrono. 
logical  order. 

Turkey  Pond  Sawmill  located  near  Concord,  N.H. 

Mill  operated  by  NETSA  and  run  by  9  women  and 

3  men. 

Taken  by  W.  K.  Williams --August,  1943 

U-Saw  Prod.,  Lbr.,  Mills  &  Log  Stor.--N.H. 


PURCHASING  LOGS:  Three  necessary  determina 
tions  had  to  be  made  before  undertaking  the  pur 
chase  of  logs.  First,  what  log  scale  should  be  used; 
secondly,  what  price  or  prices  should  be  paid,  and 
thirdly,  where  should  the  logs  be  received. 

Several  different  log  rules  were  in  use  in  the 
area.  After  a  careful  study  of  their  relative  merits 
it  was  decided  that  the  "International  Log  Rule" 
was  the  most  equitable  for  the  material  involved 
and  so  this  rule  was  selected. 

The  establishment  of  the  log  prices  was  governed 
by  the  desire  to  allow  the  hurricane  stricken  land 
owners  the  maximum  benefit  for  the  sale  of  their 
logs,  but  at  the  same  time  to  provide  for  repay 
ment  of  the  loan  which  made  the  salvaging  project 
possible.  Obviously,  the  success  of  the  whole  enter 
prise  would  depend  on  purchase  prices  which  would 
interest  the  timber  owners.  The  government  had  no 
desire  to  make  a  profit  for  itself,  but  NETSA  was 
committed  by  the  loan  agreement  to  recover  the  pub 
lic  investment  if  at  all  possible. 

A  carefully  prepared  analysis,  based  on  the 
best  available  data,  indicated  prices  of  $18,  $14 
and  $10  per  one  thousand  board  feet  for  white  pine 


logs  of  grades  1,  2  and  3  respectively.  Other 
comparable  prices  were  determined  for  the  rela 
tively  small  amounts  of  other  species  and  for  pulp- 
wood.  These  appraisal  prices  seemed  to  be  generally 
satisfactory.  They  provided  reasonable  logging  and 
hauling  costs  and  left  the  landowners  a  fair  sal 
vage  value  for  their  damaged  timber.  However,  they 
represented  values  of  logs  at  the  time  they  were 
received;  if  the  appraisal  values  were  paid  in 
full,  there  would  be  no  allowance  for  the  cost  of 
administration  and  for  any  depreciation  in  log  values 
until  such  time  as  they  could  be  processed  and  mar 
keted.  In  private  practice  such  allowances  ranged 
from  ten  to  twenty-five  percent.  The  question  of 
how  much  to  allow  for  the  hurricane  timber  was  the 
subject  of  much  discussion  and  controversy. 

Subsequently,  the  original  loan  agreement  pro 
vided  that  logs  should  be  purchased  at  80%  of  their 
appraised  value,  with  the  understanding  that  the 
vendors  would  receive  additional  payments  in  the 
event  the  program  could  be  operated  at  a  profit. 
A  few  purchases  were  negotiated  on  that  basis,  but 
it  soon  became  apparent  that  an  80$  initial  pay 
ment  was  not  attractive  to  most  owners.  This  applied 


mainly  to  the  price  established  for  grade  3  logs, 
the  catagory  which  covered  three-fourths  of  the 
"hurricane"  timber.  A  great  deal  of  protest  ensued 
because  of  the  desire  of  vendors  for  full  or  at 
least  90$  payment.  Various  bills  were  introduced 
in  Congress  calling  for  appropriations,  and  in 
one  case  stipulating  an  additional  bonus  of  $2.50 
per  thousand  board  feet.  None  of  these  bills  were 
passed.  However,  by  Executive  Order  the  appraised 
price  for  grade  3  white  pine  logs  was  increased  by 
#2.  In  effect,  this  was  a  subsidy,  for  in  the  final 
outcome  it  about  equalled  the  amount  by  which  the 
government  failed  to  recover  its  investment. 

Then  early  in  January,  1939,  authority  was 
obtained  to  increase  the  initial  payment  to  ninety 
percent  of  the  scheduled  prices,  with  the  provision 
that  the  government  would  take  full  title  to  the 
logs.  It  was  also  decided  that  the  log  vendors 
should  understand  that  ultimately  they  would  re 
ceive  their  prorata  share  of  all  excess  net  receipts, 
if  any,  derived  from  the  program  within  their  state. 
These  changes  were  made  retroactive  to  the  few  con 
tracts  already  made  and  were  incorporated  in  all 
new  sales  agreements.  The  increased  payments  and 

the  added  benefits  provided  the  impetus  needed  to 
get  the  program  moving.  Purchase  agreements  were 
more  readily  negotiated  and  logs  began  to  arrive 
at  the  various  receiving  stations  at  a  rapid  rate. 
NETSA  officials  believed  the  amounts  actually  paid 
for  the  logs  represented  fair  prices  and  provided 
the  owners  reasonable  salvage  values  for  their 
damaged  timber. 

Locations  where  logs  would  be  received  were 
based  upon  the  availability  of  suitable  sites  at 
reasonable  rental  rates  and  upon  the  expected  vol 
ume  of  timber  to  be  received  at  each  site.  They 
were  established  at  strategic  sites  withing  prac 
tical  hauling  distances  from  the  lands  involved. 
To  the  extent  possible  they  were  placed  near  ponds, 
lakes  or  rivers  so  that  the  logs  could  be  temporarily 
stored  in  water  to  protect  them  from  destructive 
insects  and  decay  -  until  they  could  be  either  sold 
as  logs  or  sawn  into  lumber,  after  the  land  stored 
logs  had  been  processed.  Two  hundred  and  forty-six 
of  these,  so  called  "wet"  sites,  were  set  up  through 
out  the  area.  Where  water  storage  was  not  possible 
"dry"  sites  were  established.  Where  possible,  they 
were  located  at  existing  sawmills,  but  these  were 


few,  so  mostly  open  fields  were  selected.  -An 
essential  requirement  for  the  site  was  suitable 
space  for  a  sawmill  and  for  the  storage  of  lumber. 
The  ultimate  disposal  of  sawdust  and  other  refuse 
was  also  considered,  as  were  the  relative  risks 
of  fire  and  theft.  Altogether,  over  800  receiving 
sites  were  selected,  but  only  721  were  actually 
used,  of  which  461  were  "dry".  At  fourteen  other 
locations  both  water  and  land  storage  were  avail 

Agreements  for  purchasing  logs  were  on  a  state 
wide  rather  than  an  overall  basis,  chiefly  because 
of  the  provision  for  distributing  possible  benefits. 
In  other  words,  there  could  be  an  excess  of  resale 
receipts  in  one  or  more  states  and  not  in  others, 
so  a  final  audit  by  states  was  deemed  most  equitable 
to  the  log  vendors. 

The  more  important  contract  provisions  were 
that  only  logs  from  blown  down  or  substantially 
injured  trees,  resulting  from  the  hurricane,  would 
be  delivered;  that  all  damaged  timber  would  be  in 
cluded;  that  the  vendor  would  deliver  at  a  specified 
receiving  site  and  within  a  stated  time,  not  to  ex 
ceed  an  agreed-upon  volume.  The  administration  agreed 

to  pay  the  seller,  within  10  days,  90  per  cent 
of  the  scheduled  price.  The  vendor's  share  of 
any  net  profits  was  to  be  paid  within  90  days  after 
all  timber  salvaged  in  that  state  had  been  resold. 
This  profit-sharing  right  was  personal  and  could 
not  "be  assigned. 

As  the  logs  v/ere  delivered  at  the  various  re 
ceiving  sites  they  were  scaled,  and  where  necessary, 
graded  by  a  NETSA-trained  sealer  and  were  put  in 
storage  either  on  land  or  in  water  or  both,  depending 
on  the  storing  facilities.  The  vendors  were  given 
"purchase  receipts",  which  were  recorded  and  served 
as  a  basis  for  payment.  Payment  by  government  check 
was  expedited  as  much  as  possible,  but  in  many  cases 
where  operating  funds  were  needed  immediately,  the 
vendors  could  generally  use  their  delivery  statements 
as  a  basis  for  loans  from  local  bankers.  They  be 
came  almost  legal  tender  in  the  area. 

The  first  logs  were  received  at  two  sites  in 
New  Hampshire  on  November  21,  1958  -  one  week  after 
NETSA  was  created  and  two  months  to  a  day  following 
the  hurricane.  The  peak  of  deliveries  was  during 
the  spring  and  early  summer  of  1939 »  after  which 
deliveries  dropped  rapidly.  By  June  1940  most  of 


the  logs  remaining  in  the  woods  showed  signs  of 
deterioration  and  also  the  deliveries  dwindled  to 
a  point  where  administrative  expenses  were  be 
coming  excessive.  Consequently  the  purchasing  of 
logs  ended  June  30,  1940. 

A  total  of  660,555  M  (thousand)  board  feet  of 
logs  was  bought,  of  which  nearly  90  per  cent  was 
white  pine.  $7,860,813  was  paid  to  log  vendors 
in  twelve  thousand  separate  invoices.  In  addition 
59»586  cords  of  pulpwood  were  purchased  at  a  cost 
of  $464,500,  making  a  grand  total  of  $8,323,313 
paid  to  thirteen  thousand  landowners,  mostly  farmers, 
for  their  hurricane-injured  timber.  Of  this  amount 
almost  59  per  cent  went  to  landowners  in  New 
Hampshire,  18  per  cent  and  12  per  cent  to  Massachusetts 
and  Vermont  owners,  respectively;  7  per  cent  went 
to  Maine  and  the  remaining  4  per  cent  was  expended 
in  Connecticut  and  Rhode  Island,  in  that  order.  A 
large  part  of  these  payments  was,  of  course,  to 
cover  the  cost  of  cutting  the  logs  and  hauling  them 
in  between  the  cutting  and  receiving  sites  taken 
by  the  timber  owners,  but  in  most  cases,  they  in 
cluded  a  reasonable  stumage  value. 

SAWING  THE  LOGS  INTO  LUMBER:  The  government 
did  not  want  to  get  into  the  manufacturing  busi 
ness  anymore  than  was  absolutely  necessary.  It 
believed  that  activity  could  best  be  performed  by 
private  industry.  The  original  hope  was  to  store 
the  logs  in  water,  where  they  would  be  relatively 
safe  from  deterioration,  then  to  sell  them  over  a 
reasonable  period  of  time  to  local  wood-using  in 
dustries  in  amounts  sufficient  to  meet  their  nor 
mal  needs.  However,  early  surveys  showed  there  was 
not  sufficient  water  storage  available,  which  made 
it  necessary  to  convert  the  logs  into  lumber  as 
rapidly  as  possible.  This  applied  -to  about  87  per 
cent  of  all  the  logs  purchased.  An  important  fac 
tor  was  the  knowledge  that  logs  stored  on  the  ground 
v/ere  perishable  and  warm  weather  would  lead  to  in 
festation  off  the  ground  from  borers  in  the  white 
pine  logs  and  to  a  general  spread  of  fungus  dis 
eases  in  all  species. 

The  method  of  sawing  naturally  was  determined 
by  the  anticipated  market  and  this,  in  turn,  had 
been  decided  at  the  September  27,  1938,  policy  agree- 


ment  with  lumber  industry  representatives:  namely, 
that  the  lumber  will  be  sold  outside  of  New  England 
to  the  fullest  extent  possible.  This  meant  that 
the  logs  should  be  converted  into  "square  edge"  con 
struction  lumber. 

Although  it  was  necessary  for  NETSA  to  have 
the  dry-site  logs  sawn,  it  was  hoped  that  milling 
by  the  government  directly  would  not  be  necessary. 
Every  effort  was  made  to  contract  this  work  to  estab 
lished  operators.  There  were  a  few  stationary  mills 
in  the  area,  but  in  general  small  portable  sawmills 
were  brought  in  from  other  sections  -  mostly  from 
Pennsylvania  and  West  Virginia.  Sawing  contracts  were 
solicited  through  advertisements  and  other  means  and 
were  administered  by  the  lowest  qualified  bidders. 

The  maximum  acceptable  prices  were  set  at  $7.50 
per  thousand  board  feet  for  sawing  and  piling  one- 
inch  square  edge  softwood  and  $1  more  for  the  rela 
tively  small  volume  of  hardwoods.  To  stimulate  the 
production  of  high  extra  quality  lumber  and  to  com 
pensate  operators  for  the  nigher  expense  of  "grade" 
sawing,  a  bonus  of  $1  per  thousand  board  feet  was 
granted  for  No.  2  common  and  better  grades  of  soft- 


wood  lumber..  For  hardwoods  it  was  No.  1  common. 
In  all,  contracts  were  made  with  275  sawmill 
operators,  who  processed  the  logs  at  most  of  the 
sites.  However,  a  few  locations  were  left  where, 
for  various  reasons,  it  was  not  possible  to  con 
tract  the  sawing  and  where  NETSA  had  to  perform 
the  work  by  so  called  "force  acount".  Fifteen 
portable  mills  were  purchased  and  operated  by 
the  government.  This  was  during  the  late  stages 
of  the  program  when  qualified  local  labor  could 
not  be  found.  It  was  at  several  of  these  mills 
where  women  were  employed  and  trained  for  saw- 
milling  operations. 

Milling  got  underway  in  January,  1939,  at  a 
number  of  dry  sites  and  expanded  rapidly  under 
pressure  to  complete  sawing  of  all  land-stored 
logs  within  a  six-month  period.  Some  "wet"  logs 
for  various  reasons  had  to  be  removed  from  ponds 
and  were  earmarked  from  the  the  "wet"  sites  for 
early  sawing.  Until  early  in  1940,  it  was  still 
the  hope  to  sell  most  of  the  logs  in  water  storage 
to  local  industries  in  the  form  of  logs.  A  few 
such  sales  were  made,  but  it  was  still  a  year  or 
more  before  preparations  for  war  began  stimulating 


the  markets.  The  question  of  disposal  of  logs  in 
ponds  was  given  careful  consideration  and  was  fully 
discussed  with  local  wood  industry  groups.   It  was 
decided  they  should  be  converted  into  lumber  and 
be  added  to  the  inventory  aimed  for  "foreign"  con 
sumption.  Consequently,  early  in  the  spring  of 
1940  sawing  of  the  water-stored  logs  began.  At  each 
milling  site  NETSA  stationed  one  or  more  men  to  tally, 
and  where  necessary  grade  the  boards  as  they  were 
made;  also  to  enforce  compliance  with  contract  re 
quirements,  such  as  proper  piling  of  lumber,  adequate 
protection  against  fire  and  the  like. 

SELLING  THE  LUMBER:   At  the  time  of  the  hurri 
cane  all  business  was  at  a  low  ebb  and  this  applied 
particularly  to  the  lumber  industry  throughout  New 
England.  For  many  years  the  limited  production  and 
consumption  of  white  pine  in  that  region  was  in  the 
form  of  "round  edge"  (sawn  on  two  sides)  material 
for  use  as  box  boards  or  crating.   The  total  con 
sumption  for  these  purposes  had  dwindled  to  125 
million  board  feet  in  1937.  Most  local  require 
ments  for  construction  material  had  long  been 
supplied  from  western  and  southern  states  and  the 
normal  lumber  business  followed  that  general  pattern. 


To  suddenly  dump  large  quantities  of  white  pine 
lumber  on  a  slow  market  presented  a  difficult 
problem.  How  could  it  be  accomplished,  within 
a  limited  time,  and  without  seriously  disrupting 
the  normal  lumber  business,  especially  in  the  New 
England  states?  '^he  most  logical  answer  still  seemed 
to  be  the  original  policy  as  announced  in  September 
of  1938:  To  dispose  of  the  material  as  far  as  possi 
ble  in  a  broader  market.  It  had  in  mind  consumption 
in  states  north  of  the  Potomac  and  east  of  the  Missis 
sippi  River.  This  seemed  sound  logic  at  the  time  and 
up  to  late  in  1941,  when  war  effort  activities  com 
pletely  changed  the  picture.  Prom  then  on  the  entire 
volume  of  salvaged  timber  would  have  been  sold  lo 
cally  as  "round  edge"  lumber,  which  would  have  been 
advantageous  to  the  government.  However,  no  "crystal 
ball"  could  foresee  the  events  of  the  future. 

So  NETSA  undertook  and  carried  out  an  extensive 
selling  campaign  through  advertisement,  circulars, 
personal  contact,  etc.,  to  interest  prospective  buyers. 
As  soon  as  sawing  at  a  site  was  completed  it  was  adver 
tised  for  sale  in  the  local  press,  national  trade 
journals  and  other  mediums.  In  conformity  with  estab 
lished  policy  and  also  for  practical  operational 


reasons,  sales  in  general  included  all  merchantable 
material  at  the  site. 

One  of  the  first  sales  was  to  the  Few  York, 
New  Haven,  and  Hartford  Railroad.   Several  lots  of 
softwood  and  hardwood  lumber  were  advertised  and 
sold  on  a  market  appraisal  basis  during  the  early 
part  of  1940.  By  the  summer  of  1940  it  became 
clear  that  relatively  small  sales  to  local  industries 
were  progressing  too  slowly,  and  in  order  not  to  un 
duly  prolong  the  NET8A  program  some  faster  means  of 
disposing  of  the  bulk  of  the  timber  was  needed.  Again 
the  problem  was  thoroughly  discussed  at  various  meet 
ings  with  industry  representatives  and  also  with  in 
terested  government  agencies,  including  the  military. 
A  number  of  proposals  were  considered;  most  of  them 
centered  on  one  large  sale  embracing  all  unsold  logs 
and  lumber  -  beyond  the  needs  of  local  industries. 
Local  needs  were  estimated  at  about  one-third  of  the 
total,  but  the  definite  amount  had  not  been  fixed. 

One  of  the  proposals  showing  early  promise  in 
volved  the  creation  of  a  "Cooperative  Organization" 
made  up  of  local  wood  users  who  would  raise  ten  million 
dollars  to  purchase  and  market  four  hundred  million 


board  feet  of  NETSA  lumber.  For  various  reasons, 
principally  the  lack  of  subscription,  this  proposal 
was  dropped. 

By  early  fall  of  1940  agreement  had  been  reach 
ed  to  advertise  a  proposal  to  sell  approximately 
425  million  board  feet  of  white  pine  lumber.  About 
half  of  this  amount  had  already  been  sawn  and  was 
on  "sticks"  at  some  340  sites.  The  other  half  was 
in  ponds  and  could  be  sawn  to  suit  any  reasonable 
requirement  of  the  purchaser. 

In  response  to  wide  advertisement  in  the  press 
and  trade  journals,  negotiations  were  finally  con 
summated  on  September  25,  1940,  in  a  sale  to  the 
Eastern  Pine  Sales  Corporation  -  a  concern  formed 
specifically  to  purchase  the  salvaged  lumber.   Short- 
ly  after  the  contract  was  signed  the  company  be 
gan  removing  lumber  from  the  various  sites  included 
in  its  contract.  The  company  was  incorporated  in 
Delaware  but  during  most  of  its  life  was  controlled 
and  operated  by  Grossman  and  Sons  of  Boston.   The 
contract  provided  for  the  purchase  of  up  to  425 
million  board  feet  of  rough  square-edge  white  pine 
lumber  at  an  initial  price  of  $21  per  thousand  board 
feet.  Among  its  provisions  was  a  price-adjusting 

Earle  H.  Clapp,  Acting  Chief  of  the  U.S.  Forest  Service,  signs 
the  agreement  selling  425,000,000  feet  of  salvaged  logs  and 
lumber  to  the  Eastern  Pine  Sales  Corporation,  represented  by 
Mr.  Harry  Joseph,  in  center.   Time  is  September  25,  1940,  the 
consummation  of  two  years  of  an  intensive  salvage  program 
directed  by  earl  S.  Peirce,  Acting  Chief  of  the  branch  of 
State  and  Private  Forestry  of  the  U.S.  Forest  Service,  after 
the  1938  New  England  hurricaine. 
Photo  by  U.S.  Forest  Service. 


formula,  to  be  computed  at  three  month  intervals, 
which  was  designed  to  stabilize  the  market  value 
of  NETSA  lumber.  The  index  correlated  the  contract 
price  with  both  Boston  and  New  York  markets  for 
various  comparable  items  of  pine  lumber  from  western 
states.  Under  the  index  the  price  for  each  quarter 
varied  somewhat,  but  gradually  increased  to  around 
$25  in  line  with  general  lumber  trade. 

The  original  contract  provided  for  the  pur 
chase  of  square-edge  lumber  only  but  it  was  later 
amended  to  the  advantage  of  both  parties  concerned, 
to  include  round-edge  lumber  and  also  the  logs  in 
water.  In  the  former  case  the  price  would  be  $3 
less,  and,  for  logs,  $10  less  than  the  current  con 
tract  price  for  square-edge  lumber. 

Up  to  the  time  the  EPSC  sale  was  made,  35  million 
board  feet  of  white  pine  logs  and  48  million  board 
feet  of  sawn  lumber  had  been  sold  -  roughly  one- 
eigth  of  the  total  volume  salvaged.  In  November, 
1940,  the  lumber  associations  of  New  England  were 
informed  that  NETSA  still  had  about  225  million  board 
feet  of  logs  stored  in  ponds  of  which  120  million 
were  reserved  for  the  use  of  local  industries,  the 
balance  having  been  committed  to  EPSC.  It  was  the 


intent  to  give  New  England  industries  the  first 
choice  of  the  various  ponds  so  they  might  pur 
chase  those  logs  nearest  to  their  mills  and  best 
suited  for  their  use.  At  the  same  time,  it  was 
only  fair  to  inform  EPSC  officials  what  specific 
ponds  were  to  be  sawn  for  them,  so  they  could 
make  plans  and  negotiate  contracts  for  establish 
ing  planing  mills  and  concentration  yards. 

Accordingly,  in  agreement  with  interested 
local  industry  committees,  March  1,  1941,  was 
set  as  a  deadline  by  which  time  the  industries 
v/ere  to  indicate  which  ponds  they  wished  to  pur 
chase.  Logs  in  ponds  not  then  reserved  were  to 
be  included  in  the  EPSC  contract.  At  the  time 
there  were  about  89  million  board  feet  of  logs  in 
water  that  were  eventually  sold  in  the  form  of 
logs  -  60  per  cent  to  local  industries  directly, 
and  40  per  cent  to  EPSC  under  its  contract. 

Although  all  the  salvaged  timber  had  now  been 
either  sold,  reserved,  or  contracted,  the  end  of  the 
government's  task  was  yet  far  away.  Most  of  the 
water-stored  logs  had  to  be  sawn  or  sold  in  the 
"rough".  In  the  latter  case,  the  purchasers  gen 
erally  accepted  them  on  the  basis  of  the  original 


scale  made  at  the  time  they  were  received  at  the 
site,  thus  saving  the  expense  of  rescale.   Some 
purchasers,  however,  fearing  possible  loss  from 
sinkage  or  the  dangers  present,  were  not  willing 
to  accept  the  accuracy  of  the  initial  tally.  In 
those  cases  a  second  scaling  was  necessary.  Where 
the  "wet"  logs  required  sawing, NETSA  personnel 
had  to  enforce  the  contract  requirements,  tally 
and  grade  the  lumber  etc.  -  the  same  as  was  done 
at  the  dry  sites.  The  many  lumber  piles,  scattered 
over  a  wide  area,  presented  a  serious  protection 
problem.  Fire  was  the  greatest  danger,  but  also 
theft  always  was  present.  Until  the  lumber  was 
sold  and  removed  it  was  government  property  and 
collateral  under  the  loan  agreement.  Insurance 
was  considered  but  given  up  due  to  exorbitant  premiums, 

Upon  completion  of  the  sawing  program,  NETSA 
still  had  the  responsibility  for  carrying  out  the 
government  obligations  under  the  EPSC  contract  and 
for  enforcing  satisfactory  performance  by  the  com 
pany.  With  such  a  large  contract,  comprising  mater 
ial  at  hundreds  of  widely  scattered  locations,  it 
was  inevitable  that  many  unforeseen  problems  would 
crop  up.  In  some  instances  differences  of  opinion 


between  government  and  company  personnel  arose  as 
to  how  they  should  be  handled.  In  general,  they 
were  minor  and  were  readily  resolved.  The  real 
marvel  was  that  there  were  not  more  disagreements 
and  some  of  a  serious  nature.  That  this  did  not 
occur  can  be  attributed  to  the  willingness  of  both 
contract  parties  to  cooperate  in  good  faith  in  work 
ing  out  problems  in  the  most  practical  way  and  the 
desire  to  get  on  with  the  job. 

The  company  established  three  concentration 
locations  to  which  the  rough  lumber  was  hauled  for 
planing  or  otherwise  processing  for  reselling,  ^hree 
or  more  NETSA  employees  were  stationed  at  each  con 
centration  yard  to  tally  the  lumber  -  by  grades  where 
that  was  needed,  ^ring  the  final  stages  practically 
all  the  lumber  was  used  for  military  purposes,  large 
ly  in  the  construction  of  training  camps. 

The  salvage  program  was  nearing  completion  by 
the  end  of  January  1943,  at  which  time  the  Project 
Director's  office  was  closed.  The  responsibility 
for  ending  all  Federal  activities  in  New  England 
relating  to  the  hurricane  was  turned  over  to  the 
Regional  Forester  at  Philadelphia.  Understandably, 
this  was  probably  the  least  rewarding  phase  of  the 


entire  program,  for  it  involved  a  wide  variety  of 
cleanup  jobs.   They  ranged,  for  example,  from  place 
ment  of  personnel  to  sawing  out  the  last  ponds, 
closing  of  contracts,  cleaning  up  storage  and  saw 
mill  sites,  including  the  disposal  of  sawdust  piles, 
terminating  leases  and  disposal  of  miscellaneous 
equipment.  The  closing  out  job  in  itself  was  no 
small  task.  The  entire  program  was  terminated  on 
December  31|  1943. 



—  A  summary  of  the  NETSA  program  showed  that  a 
little  over  651  million  board  feet  of  wood  products 
had  been  salvaged  from  the  hurricane-damaged  timber* 
Of  this  total,  nearly  89  million  board  feet  were 
sold  in  the  form  of  logs;  533  million  board  feet 
were  sawed  and  marketed  as  lumber  (77  per  cent 
"square-edge"  and  23  per  cent  "round-edge")  and  almost 
30  million  feet  of  pulpwood  were  sold. 

—  Over  eight  million  dollars  were  paid  to 
thirteen  thousand  landowners,  mostly  farmers,  for 
the  logs  frora  their  damaged  trees, 

—  The  total  cost  of  the  salvage  program  was 
$16,269,300,  of  which  almost  $15,000,000,  or  92  per 
cent,  was  recovered  by  the  government. 

—  Altogether,  640  persons,  exclusive  of  day 
laborers,  worked  on  the  program  at  one  timber  site 
or  another  and  in  varying  capacities.  Almost  all 

of  the  supervisory  force  was  on  loan  from  the  regular 
United  States  Forest  Service  organization. 


—  The  benefits  resulting  from  the  salvage 
program  cannot  be  evaluated  accurately.  Unquestion 
ably  they  were  substantial.  The  objectives  for  which 
the  program  was  undertaken — namely  to  help  landowners 
dispose  of  their  damaged  timber  and  at  the  same  time 
not  disrupt  the  local  lumber  markets — already  have 
been  shown  to  have  been  accomplished.  It  is  safe 
to  say  that,  except  for  the  program,  most  of  the 
two-thirds  billion  board  feet  of  merchantable  wood 
products  would  have  been  left  on  the  ground  to  rot. 
Its  removal  left  the  woodlots  in  better  condition 
for  growing  future  crops  of  timber  and  helped  mater 
ially  in  the  overall  hazard  reduction  work — the  benefits 
of  which  have  been  previously  outlined. 

The  most  direct  beneficiaries  were  the  thirteen 

thousand  timber  owners  who  participated  in  the  program 
and  received  about  eight  million  dollars.  A  large  part 
was  used  for  labor  and  provided  jobs  for  many  persons 
other  than  the  landowners. 

Altogether,  over  sixteen  million  dollars  were 

spent  on  the  salvage  work,  which  gave  the  economy  of 
New  England  a  boost  at  a  time  when  business  was  at  a 
low  ebb. 


—  There  were  other  benefits,  such  as:   stabilizing 
the  local  lumber,  providing  raw  material  to  local  wood- 
using  industries,  (giving  employment  either  directly 

or  indirectly  to  hundreds  of  persons  when  jobs  were 
scarce  and  training  many  young  men  in  various  lines 
of  forestry  and  allied  activities). 

—  As  events  turned  out,  probably  the  greatest 
public  benefit  was  providing  a  huge  amount  of  seasoned 
lumber,  which  was  urgently  needed  and  used  in  the 
country's  preparation  for  war. 

The  salvage  operations  were  performed  at  a 
net  cost  to  the  public  of  a  little  over  one  and  one- 
fourth  million  dollars — certainly  a  small  sum  when 
compared  to  the  overall  benefits. 




January   2?,    1965 
Room  l;B6 

Mr,  Earl  Peirce 

3733  Kuntington  Street,  N.W. 

Washington,  D.C.  200l£ 

Dear  Mr,  Peirce : 

Mr,  Chrlstooher  Grander  has  written  that  you  were 
cl  osely  connected  with  the  salvage  operations  that  fol 
lowed  the  New  England  hurricane  of  ceptember,  193%  an^ 
that  he  has  talked  with  you  regarding  the  oosslblllty 
of  your  writing  a  statement  which  could  become  a  part  of 
a  series  on  the  history  of  oollcy  In  the  forest  Service, 

Such  a  statement  would  be  deposited  In  the  Univer 
sity's  Bancroft  Library  which  Is  an  archival  depository 
used  by  serious  scholars.   You  would  retain  all  publica 
tion  rights  If  you  so  desire;   In  any  event,  quotations 
can  be  used  only  with  your  permission, 

I  assume  that  ^r.  Granger  has  sum-narlzed  for  you 
the  forestry  project  that  Is  unhderway.   Operating  under 
a  grant  from  Resources  for  the  Future,  th's  project  Is 
attenntlng  to  gather  as  much  first-hand  information  re 
garding  the  development  of  policy  In  forestry  as  can  be 
made  available  to  us  through  tape  recorded  'ntervtews  or, 
as  In  your  case  and  Mr,  Granger's,  written  statements  of 
what  happened, 

In  government  archives  and  documents  can  be  found  the 
statistics  of  such  things  as  the  3*000,000  board  feet  In 
the  blow-down,  the   5,000,000  plus  ? 500,000  annropr Nations , 
the  11,000  employed  CCC  boys,  and  the  rather  confusing  net 
work  of  agencies  that  worked  with  the  Forest  Service, 
Perhaps  your  main  contribution  would  b»  the  story  of  why 
these  things  occurred  as  they  did:  how  the  decisions  were 
made,  why  other  decisions  were  not  made,  examnles  of  reac 
tions  among  the  general  public,  ;he  lumbermen,  and  others 
with  whom  you  worked,   ^ersonal  anecdotes  are  valuable 
In  that  they,  too,  cannot  be  found  elsewhere,  usually; 
and  of  special  imoortance  would  be  your  evaluation  of  the 
operation— In  terms  of  conservation,  of  economy  of  the 
forest  industry,  of  the  value  In  terms  of  government  ex 
penditures  (92^  of  the  loan  repaid  from  the  sales,  I  be 
lieve),  and  In  terms  of  human  values. 

Do  you  have  t ' me  to  prepare  such  a  statement?   It 
would  be  ajwelcome  assistance" to  the  project  by  filling 

00  T  '  ,' 


.'jd>^  b»^')9Tsnoo   rissc  £> 

••  ^     f:  f  ji  -.^  5 ' ",     gf'  J     5  S>  !-?C  X 

:  f  *»      ri  < 


n.t  —  nr- 



in  a  sequence   of  events  where   otherwise   a  cr;ao  would  be 

If  you   need   someone  to   run  errands  for  you,    s>xsh  as 
helping  you  gather  resource   materials,   we  have   an   able 
assistant    in  Waah'n^ton  whom  we  have   hired   psrt-tlne    for 
that   purpose.     Peel   free   to  call  her;      I  will  write  her 
to  expect   this.      Her   name   and  address   are: 

••Irs.    Jack  Mezirow 

Prospect   Rt.    N.V. 
Washington  27 »  B.C. 

Telephone   333-01; 09 

Thank  you  very  much  for   considering   tMs    oroposal; 
we  hope    It  works   out. 


(Mrs.)  Amelia  3.  Pry 
"C:  Mr.  Chr istonher  Granger 

•  «%    &    -  -v»   1c    *-  «!    a  nl 

f »  a  r» 


Huntington  Street,  N.  W. 
Washington  15,  D.  C. 


'  EARL  S.  PEiRCE 
3738  Huntington  Street,  N.  W. 
Washington  15,  D.  C. 

.  i<\ 

-ew  u,  ^ 

'  •'••'**'  ••• 



;fAL  o^\L  HIS?  ,14  486 

oteaber  ;    ,  1967 

Mr.  Larl  PeiWNl 
either  Florida 
or  Washington 

Dear  Mr.  Peiroet 

I  aa  not  sure  whether  you  ore  with     r.    .coville  in 
.'i   terpark  or  back  in  Vaohimton,   no  I  am  sendi  c 

of  this  letter  to  both  addresses* 

We  are  cojaln;  in  on  the  hoae  stretch  on  the  entire 
-•'orent    service  series,  and  I  have  taken  inventory  of  your 
t  ped  manuscript  today*     It  reads  veil,  is  -tc 

factual  and  informative*     *'e  realize  what  u  lount  of 

tine  and  effort  oust  have  ^one  into  so»ethins  wae 
put  together  with  such  care* 

livery  tin*  I  #o  over  that  story,  it  strikes  ne  what 
a  unique  aoawmt         MaV-ry  it  is* 

*o  complete  the  raanuscri   t  et  the  <-  bound. 

we  need  a  few  quo   U  •  s  an:/  .  ies  will  be  do  JD  si  ted 

in  our  Bancroft  Library,  in  Yile's  *'orest  History         iety, 
in  the  resources  for  the  ?uturo  Library,  in  the  UCiA  u 

:;p«clal  Collactions,  in  your  home,  in  our  office  collect!  >nf 
and  possibly  in  the  Torast     ervico  :uid    ,lao  at  Denver*     If 
you  wish  to  order  additional  co  ;ies  for  i;  ecicil  col: 
relatives,    they  can  be  had  at  cost—  u  10.  0  to         .  jQ 

per  copy,   <ie;>endiiv:  on  the  a^aount  of  inserts,  etc* 

Here  (ire  the  questions! 

1*      --he  pictures  are  just    .roat*     We  ore  usin/j  all  the 
-loss««t  cjnci  havi  %  reprints  unde  of  all  we  con     st  under  our 
budget.     You  wrote  ae  that  you  want  the  plates,  w     o       re     rint  d 
on  nagasiiuc  P»per,  back;      I  doubt  tlu.t  wo  c  .,        I  r     r       otions 
J!u.ide  of  that  type  of  picture*  you  have  —  or 

do  you  think  you  know  where  you  c  ~ 

<?•     I  need  a  sheet  showing  your  mt  record  in 

^'oret;t     rrvice,  or  (nuch  better),  a  p' 

where  you  went  to  school  (beginning  vith  your  birth  ditto  ), 

what  you  studied,  Lsrid  then  your  ©Liployment  record.     Jo  you  i 
you  can  devise  such  a  sheet? 

3*     We  have  two  types  of  c  .fcs*  I  you  all 

publication  and  quotation  rights,     ^he  otiier     iv.-  fch«  che 

University,  but  before  anyt.  n/;  c  .,di  be  p.  the  ;•    , 

we  have  to  ^et  your  permission*     In  both  cases  all  .ties 

go  to  you,   in  ccuse  the  whole  shebang  is  fora*  is 

has  never  happened  yet,  but  it  su,;ht  someday*)       hich  t^ne  of 
contract  do  you  want? 

I  ho^e  you  can  ,<ret  t-  is  infor         ^n  oack  .t  .-way* 

We  aro  trying  to  ueet  a  bindery  deadline*      rhanka  for  all  you've  done* 

Earl  S.  Peirce 

3378  Chiswick  Court 

Silver  Spring,  Maryland  20906 


v^  —  — 

c.  P. 

Regional  Cultural  History  Project 

Room  U86 

Regional  Oral  History  Office 
Room  486 

October  20,  1967 

Mr.  Earl  S.  Pierce 
3378  Chiswick  Court 
Silver  Spring,  Maryland 

Dear  Mr.  Pierce: 


One  more  service  from  you  we  must 
request.  Please  initial  all  copies  at  the 
deleted  section,  then  return  them  once  again 
to  our  office.  We  must  keep  our  legal  eagles 
happy.  Thank  you. 


Amelia  R.  Fry 


Agreement  (5  copies) 
Return  envelope 

as   I  was 
*ence   In  San 
ttoe    to  hold 
srenee ,   but 
7  I  did  not 
*  one-of-a- 

bhe  detail 

re  to  omit 
a  historical 
deal  of  work 
for  editing, 

s  which  you  have 

esources  for  the 
finish  the 

what  happens. 

talnly  keep  us 
and  you  can 


theju  Thank 
SfFwlll  be  a 
Important  that 

as  graphically 
rythlng,   It   Is 

that  was  under- 
nk  you  again 

future  genera- 

ils,  and  have   It 
.he  way),  you  will 

yours , 


Regional  Cultural  History  Project 

Room  U86 
April  5,  1965 

Mr.  Earl'  S.    Pierce 
3738  Huntln*ton  Street 
Washington,  D.C.  20015 

Dear  Kr.    Pierce : 

Your  manuscript  arrived  last  week,   just  as  I  was 
about  to  bury  myself   In  the  Wilderness   Conference   In  San 
Francisco.      Mr.  Ed   Crafts  was  able   to    find  t  Irae    to  hold 
an  Interview  for  our  series  during  the     Conference,  but 
his  and  other  taping  sessions  kept  me  so  busy  I  did  not 
get  back  to  ray  office  to  notify  you  that  your  one-of-a- 
kind  manuscript  had   Indeed  arrived  safely. 

Your  mention  of  having  to  cut  down  on  the  detail 
makes  me  hope  that  you  were  not  under  pressure  to  omit 
anything  which  you  deem  Important  as   part  of  a  historical 
record.     It  seems  to  me  that  you  did  a  great  deal  of  work 
In  a  short  time,  and  when  we  get   It  typed  up  for  editing, 
perhaps  you  will  want  to  Include  some  details  which  you  have 
left  out  of  this  version.     We  have  written  Resources  for  the 
Future  for  an  extension  of  funds  In  order  to  finish  the 
typing  and  editing,   and   I  will  let  you  know  what  happens. 

Meanwhile,  what  you  have   sent  will  certainly  keep  us 
busy.     The   pictures   can  be  reproduced  here,   and  you  can 
receive  IThe T plates  vnen  we  are   tnrou^n;     your  oun  personal 
eftnv  rmilg    !Rkiim»rl|iL  •!!  I    M»«^*p"Er'  U   them.      Thank 

you  for  amassing  the    charts  and  photographs — it  will  be   a 
much  more  vivid  story.        I  think  that   It   Is   important  that 
the  extent   of  the  entire  effort  be   presented  as  graphically 
as   possible.     Even  In  today's  era  of  Big  Everything,   It   Is 
still  difficult  to  realize   the   enormous   task  that  was  under 
taken  and   accomplished  so   successfully.      Thank  you  again 
for  writing  it  out  systematically  for  us  and  future  genera 

As   soon  as  I  have   time  to   read  over  this,  and  have    it 
retyped   (your  writing  is  quite   legible,  by  the  way),  you  will 
hear  from  me  again. 

Sincerely  yours, 
Amelia  R.   Pry 

it  9  <*  c*f  fi  H  1  e  its*  J  i/r   I  an 

«t        •cos: 

'v.fv    <y 




Agricultural  Adjustment  Administration,  14 
Agriculture, -Dept.  of,  6,  29 
Secretary,  powers  of,  i,  19 

Civilian  Conservation  Corps,  8-9,  11,  14 
Clarke-McNary  Act,  7,  10 
Congress,  U.S.,  6,  10,  19,  29 

Disaster  Loan  Corp.,  19 
Disease,  17 

Eastern  Pine  Sales  Corp.,  40 

Education,  professional  schools,  tech.  training,  16,  26 

Equipment,  15 ,  16 

Insects,  5,  17,  18 

Lumber  industry,'  21-26,  35 

Marketing,  18-21,  36ff. 

National  Defense  Advisory  Commission,  22 

Navy  department,  22 

New  England  Federal  Emergency  Program (NEFE),  10-11,  14 

Northeastern  Lumber  Mftg.  Assn.,  25 

Northeastern  Timber  Salvage  Administration(NETSA) ,  19 

Ornamental  Trees,  2 

Pine  areas,  2,  18,  25,  34 

Policy,  general  comment,  ii,  22-25 

Roosevelt,  Franklin  D. ,  6,  13 

Silcox,  Ferdinand  A. ,  7 
State  forestry,  4-5 

Administration,  15 
Surplus  Commodities  Corp.,  19 

Timber  management,  18-21 
Timber  owners,  13,  14,  16,  47 

United  States  Forest  Service 

Appropriations,  7,  10,  19,  29 

And  Congress,  6 

Department  of  Agriculture  relations,  i 

Public  relations,  16,  17,  24 

Timber  sales,  18-21,  34-42 


Wallace,  Henry,  6,  7 

War  Department,  22 

Women,  26 

Woodlots,  3,  47 

Works  Progress  Administration  (WPA),  8-9,  HT  14 

World  War'  II,  iii,  38 

•  5  3